Razon offers to build Wawa Dam as new source for Metro water

Tycoon Enrique Razon is pushing to build a new dam east of the capital to prevent another water shortage hitting thousands of people in Metro Manila as the dry season begins.

Enrique Razon.( Bloomberg file photo) Enrique Razon.( Bloomberg file photo)

Wawa Dam in Rizal province can be the nearest major source of bulk water and provide 80 million liters per day by 2021 and 540 million liters daily by 2024, Razon said in a mobile-phone message. The billionaire said his group can start building the dam by the end of 2019 after signing a supply agreement with Manila Water Co., Inc. and securing environment and other permits.

“Our water project is obviously badly needed,” Razon said. “But it’s not an immediate fix and is for the medium-to-long-term or this will be a recurring problem.” The water regulator supports the project, Razon said. President Rodrigo Duterte has tapped $211 million in Chinese loans for a dam south of Manila as another water source.

Residents in the Philippine capital have been queuing for water rations for more than a week, armed with pails and basins while fire trucks are deployed to provide water to hospitals and schools. Some people who live in condominiums have resorted to fetching water from swimming pools, according to Twitter posts. More than 50,000 households are affected, said Manila Water, which services half the capital region that’s suffering from water shortage.

Manila Water, controlled by Ayala Corp., is seeking to tap 32 million liters a day from Maynilad Water Services, Inc., which supplies the other half of the capital, to help address a daily shortage of 140 million liters, Chief Operating Officer Geodino Carpio said at a briefing on Tuesday. It’s also rushing to partially operate soon a delayed water treatment plant to add 50 million liters a day and have more deep wells.

Manila Water said the shortage was caused by rising demand aggravated by the start of the dry season and its delayed treatment plant. Maynilad Water gets more supply from the main source which is Angat Dam and has a new treatment facility, Carpio said.

Maynilad is also looking for new water sources to sustain adequate supply, Chairman Manuel Pangilinan said. Maynilad is willing to share its water supply with Manila Water to address the current shortage, Pangilinan said. (Bloomberg)